Brent Council accused of U-turn over permit plans while hiking visitor parking prices

Cllr Paul Lorber with parking scratch cards

Cllr Paul Lorber with parking scratch cards - Credit: Archant

Town Hall ditches proposals for shorter-stay permits but introduces 50 per cent price increase

Opposition councillors have accused the council of doing a ‘U-turn’ after it threw out new four-hour permit plans but agreed a price hike of 50 per cent for visitor parking.

Brent Council abandoned controversial plans to replace day-long permits with the shorter passes for the same cost at an executive meeting this week.

However they announced the day-long virtual passes would increase from £1 to £1.50 per day.

Liberal Democrat councillor Mark Cummins said: “Councillor Butt and his Labour colleagues should never have allowed the proposal to limit visitor permits to just four hours to go ahead. I am relieved they have seen sense after the Lib Dem and others pointed out the flaws.

“Labour’s plan would have caused problems for many visitors coming to stay with friends or relations. However it is unfair for Labour to punish residents living in controlled parking zone areas by imposing a fifty per cent price rise for visitor permits,” he added.

The council had planned to replace day-long scratch card permits in November with four hour virtual permits to tackle abuse and align their prices with neighbouring borough.

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But in the report presented at the meeting, councillors acknowledged the plan would “cause additional inconvenience and cost, especially in controlled parking zones with longer restricted hours” and should not go ahead.

They claim parking will still be cheaper than neighbouring boroughs but critics say cost isn’t the only issue with the virtual tickets.

Earlier this month Brent’s Liberal Democrats launched a petition to save the scratch card system, arguing that virtual passes would hinder elderly and disabled residents as well as those not skilled at using the internet.

Cllr Jim Moher, lead member for highways and transportation, told the Times the decision was not a U-turn.

He said: “We responded to the consultation very positively - we’ve listened to what people said and agreed that permits should be all day,” he said.

He added that the price rise was “reasonable” when comparing Brent’s charges with neighbouring boroughs like Camden, who charge £6.50 per day and Ealing, who charge £4.50.

“We are the very lowest in the north west of London so by changing from four-hour permits, we said at the same time it would be reasonable to increase the cost by 50p,” he said.